If you’re like me, chances are good that you have an Android tablet sitting in a drawer somewhere, unused and unloved. You could have received one as a Christmas or birthday present one year, and just didn’t find a convincing use for it. It may have served you faithfully for years, but has been made slow and unwieldy by the weight of numerous software updates.

This is not the end of the road for your tablet. Of course, you could sell it and make a fraction of the original purchase price. You can throw it in the trash, which will increase the amount of hazardous e-waste. Alternatively, you can use your Android tablet for DIY project use. Here are four ideas to get you started.

Like an Arduino shield

Whenever someone tells me that they have started learning Arduino, I give them one piece of advice — «Be prepared to spend a lot of money» . Although the Arduino microcontrollers themselves are not very expensive ( especially if you buy a cheap Chinese clone or build your own, ), «shields» that are connected to them.

So what are Arduino shields? Basically, they extend the functionality of the Arduino board by adding sensors, radios, and connection options. Thus, if you want to connect your Arduino to the Internet, you can buy a WiFi or Ethernet shield. screen. screen. . If you want it to feel movement and movement, you can add an accelerometer shield. You get the idea.


Shields can cost anywhere from $10 to $50. If you have to use a lot of them, the costs add up quickly.

But here’s what’s interesting: all the sensors you buy individually can be found on even the cheapest Android device. Take the Amazon Kindle Fire 7, for example, which is a typical budget tablet. It has two cameras, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, Wi-Fi, a speaker and a microphone. There are comparable tablets made in China. tablets running android on android and even less .

If you could use these components with Arduino.

Well, you can . 1Sheeld is an invention of Integreight. It consists of two parts. The first is the physical Arduino shield — the last one you’ll ever need — which connects to the Android device via a Bluetooth LE connection. The second is an application that runs on an Android device. This allows the user to write Arduino programs that use the sensors on the Android tablet, as well as any internet capabilities of the device.

1Sheeld supports devices running Android 2.3 and above, so it is highly likely that any tablet or phone purchased within the last six years will work with it.

Like a digital photo frame

I never understood the appeal of digital photo frames. For me, they were the perfect product for white elephants, in the same vein as hoverboards, HD DVD players, and selfie sticks. Indeed, these power-hungry gadgets perform worse than the analog pictures they are supposed to replace, as they often come with low resolution screens and look washed out.

Again, maybe I’m wrong, because literally millions digital photo frames have been sold. Maybe I’m missing something that makes them attractive. Either way, if you have an old tablet, you don’t have to go out and buy one. Just plug it in, group your photos into a slideshow with the Slideshow Maker app, and you’re done.

Wait, I can hear you inserting. Digital photo frames come with a built-in stand, but most Android tablets don’t.

Well, it’s true. Of course, you can buy a tablet stand from Amazon quite cheaply, but there is a better way. Just download Thingiverse’s tablet stand design and head to your local manufacturing space. your local hacker space. where you can print it using a 3D printer.


Thingiverse is basically iTunes for 3D printers. When it comes to tablets, they have a smorgasbord of device-specific designs. They also have a number that is device independent and will work with anything. Also, since they are open source, you will be able to modify them as needed.

As a security camera

Over the past six years, phone cameras have gotten better and better, and people have been taking near-studio-quality pictures with the iPhone. But that doesn’t mean that phone and tablet cameras of recent history are bad in and of themselves. They were — and maybe still are good enough for taking selfies and snapping pictures of your dinner.

They are also ideal for use as a security camera. Think about it — tablets and smartphones have the ability to stream video to the cloud all the time. Even the oldest cameras have sharper cameras than those that come with commercial surveillance products.

Software shouldn’t be a problem. Apart from streaming services such as Google Plus, YouNow, Twitch and others, there are also products designed to turn old Android devices into surveillance cameras. Christian Cowley reviewed video surveillance apps on Android last year, and there was one decisive winner, Salient Eye.

But how would you best secure your tablet? Well, if you’re using the front camera, you might be tempted to attach a magnet to the sugr ball. and use that to secure it in place.

In addition, you can change one of the many webcam stands available from Thingiverse to fit your tablet. One of the most promising designs I’ve seen is the «ZYYX webcam holder».

Like a smart home panel

In 2014, French tech giant Archos plunged into the realm of smart home technology. He launched a starter pack that included two cameras, two weather tags, and an Android tablet to control them all. Even though the promise was interesting and provided good value for the users, it failed to deliver, simply because the execution was so bad. The Android tablet was clunky and underpowered. But where Archos failed, you can succeed. Using your own Android tablet, you can create your own dedicated smart home hub.

There are several attractive third-party web platforms that allow you to control your smart home devices. SmartTiles.click is a platform for managing Samsung SmartThings devices. Also, if you know how to code, you can create your own using Dashing.io.

Smart Tiles

While the Archos tablet comes with a built-in stand, you can create your own stand using the aforementioned 3D printer designs in Thingiverse. Also, you can Sugru some magnets on his back, and attach him to the refrigerator.

Have you found any interesting uses for your old Android tablet? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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